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Radioactive Waste

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the current EURATOM discussions on methods of disposal of radioactive waste in respect of its implications for the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management. [197577]

Mr. Morley: The European Commission's draft directive on radioactive waste management is not currently under active discussion. The Government opposed the draft directive principally because it could have prejudiced the work of the Committee on Radioactive Waste Management which will make recommendations on the most appropriate long-term radioactive waste management option for the United Kingdom. A number of other member states also oppose the directive with the result that it does not command the necessary qualified majority.

Departmental Policy Announcements

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects further announcements to be made on (a) cross compliance, (b) use of the national reserve, (c) cross-border holdings, (d) common land, (e) SPS appeals procedures, (f) lost and delayed Rural Payments Agency information statements, (g) ex-gratia payments and historical claims, (h) the LWDS and Slaughter Premium Scheme, (i) EPS co-efficient in 2001 with reference to foot and mouth disease, (j) countryside stewardship and set aside and (k) detailed non-food crop and general set aside rules for 2005. [191109]

Alun Michael: Announcements on cross compliance and the use of the national reserve were made on 2 November. We will be making announcements on the other issues as soon as they are resolved, which in some cases is expected to be quite soon.

Rural Services Review

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many copies of Rural Services Review 2004 were printed; what the cost was of the (a) printing and (b) preparation, including design and writing of the review; how many copies were distributed (i) unsolicited and (ii) otherwise; at what cost in each case; and how many earlier editions of the review have been produced. [197724]

Alun Michael: The Rural Services Review, published on 1 November 2004, continues the commitment from the Rural White Paper "Our Countryside: the future" to inform rural people how they can ensure fair access to public services for their community. The Rural Services Review replaces the Rural Services Standard, a more formal and "official" document that was published in 2002 and 2003. It has already resulted in considerable positive responses at regional and local level, often in respect of examples quoted in the text which show how policies are often being delivered very successfully in
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rural areas. Our purpose is to spread good practice about "what works" and to stimulate innovation in rural areas.

The total cost of production and distribution of the Rural Services Review is set out in the following table:
Cost of Rural Services Review

SupplierFinal Spend (+ vat)
DesignStairway Communications9,814 plus 383
Total = 10,197
Print (50,000 run)17,800 (no vat charged)
Distribution RSRSolicited—90(2)14,000
Unsolicited—30, 136
Proof readingCOI324
Staff costs(3)22,864

(2) These costs are based upon estimates as final invoices have not yet been received.
(3) Defra staff costs for this project were £22,864. This figure is based upon average pay rates, by grade and location and includes accommodation overheads.

The total production, distribution and staff costs give a unit cost for the Rural Services Review of £1.68 a copy.

The Rural Services Review came about as a consequence of the evaluation of the Rural Services Standard, which took place during 2003. The review builds upon the recommendations of the independent evaluation report produced by the University of Gloucester. A copy of this report is available on the Defra website at

The Rural Services Review identifies key standards that affect people living and working in the countryside and illustrates the difference the standards can make, through the use of case studies. Copies of the review are available through Defra publications (08459 556000) or online at

Salisbury plain

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when funding for the Salisbury Plain Life Project will cease; and what funding streams and programmes will succeed it. [196023]

Mr. Bradshaw: The project formally finishes 30 September 2005. All partner costs are paid in full at the time expenditure is incurred while match funding provided under the LIFE Nature regulation is paid in instalments, the final instalment (approximately 30 per cent. of the total funding) being paid following submission to the Commission of final project reports and audited accounts.

Future management work on the Salisbury Plain project may be eligible for funding under a number of funding streams and programmes, and although no specific funding has so far been secured discussions between English Nature and the relevant partners and agencies is on-going.
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Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the expected annual expenditure by each of the partners is in each year of the planned life of the Salisbury Plain Life Project; and if she will make a statement. [196024]

Mr. Bradshaw: The following table shows the official project budget sheet figures derived from the life project bid document. Totals for each partner contribution have been divided by four to give an estimated figures for annual spend. The exchange rate when these figures were submitted was €1.69/£1.
PartnerEstimated annual costs per annum per partner (€)
1. Applicant's share of project costs
(English Nature)
2. Community contribution requested435,340
3. Defence Estates298,354
4. Defence Evaluation Research Agency51,154
5. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds15,708
6. Centre for Ecology and Hydrology1,600
7. Butterfly Conservation5,085

Single Farm Payments

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the expected payment date is for the single farm payments in May 2005; and under what circumstances this payment would be delayed until April 2006. [193776R]

Alun Michael: The European Regulations designate May 2005 as the deadline for receipt of claims, not as a payment day. The regulations provide for the single payments for 2005 to be made between December 2005 and June 2006. Our objective is to make payments as early as possible within that period.

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she will make a decision about how the benefit of common rights will be allocated when calculating single farm payments to commoners; what further consultation she plans with (a) verderers and (b) commoners; and if she will make a statement. [197816]

Alun Michael: There is ongoing consideration of this complex issue and an announcement will be made as soon as possible. In August a meeting was held with commons interests, including representations from the New Forest, and those present were invited to submit further observations. No further formal consultation is planned.

Departmental Policies (South Dorset)

Jim Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will set out, with statistical evidence relating as closely as possible to the South Dorset constituency, the effects of changes to departmental policy since 1997 on the South Dorset constituency. [194969]

Alun Michael: Since its establishment in 2001 Defra has put in place a comprehensive programme of action on issues including sustainable development, climate change and energy, sustainable consumption and production, natural resource protection, sustainable
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rural communities, and a sustainable farming and food sector. A summary of some our achievements to date can be found at http://defra/corporate/achievements.htm. I am confident that the South Dorset constituency will have benefited from these. For example, we are committed, through our national strategy for waste, to delivering a step change to more sustainable waste management, including tough national targets to recycle or compost 17 per cent. of household waste by 2003–04, and 25 per cent. by 2005–06. The county of Dorset, one of the early high performers on recycling, continues to make a substantial contribution to achieving national recycling targets. The county's recycling performance in 2002–03, the most recent year for which data are available, was 27 per cent., against the national average for that year of 14.5 per cent.

Bathing water quality has improved along the Purbeck and Weymouth/Portland coast over the last seven years. In 1997, only nine of the 14 identified bathing waters, stretching from Shell Bay in the east to Portland in the west, met the most stringent standards of the EC Bathing Water Directive. By 2004, all bar one passed these standards, which are necessary to fulfil the water quality criteria of the international Blue Flag award. These improvements reflect Defra's policy to improve coastal water and raise compliance with the EC Bathing Water Directive.

Last month I announced that Dorset would be one of seven rural pathfinders in England. The rural pathfinder initiative is a key part of the Government's Rural Strategy and reflects the Government's commitment to devolve decision-making and resources to the local level. The Dorset rural pathfinder will ensure greater co-ordination of rural delivery programmes as well as testing new and innovative methods to bring about improvements in the delivery of services to rural communities and businesses.

Defra provides comprehensive statistical information. The following web address will take my hon. Friend directly to the service:

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